Smrke tops Toronto with 100%

  • August 12, 2010
Brianna SmrkeTORONTO - Brianna Smrke had a perfect ending to her year final year of high school.

The 18-year-old Michael Power/St. Joseph High School student graduated as the top student in the Toronto Catholic District School Board with a flawless mark of 100 per cent in all six of her courses.

The secret to her success? Smrke says it’s been a supportive family and a positive school environment that helped her develop as a well-rounded student and person.

“I didn’t know I would be the best,” Smrke said, adding she just kept working hard, a habit she developed early. Her diverse experiences in sports, arts and community work also helped build up her skills, she said.

Smrke was enrolled in Michael Power/St. Joseph High School’s International Baccalaureate program which requires students to volunteer 50 hours in creativity and service-related activities. But Smrke surpassed this requirement by volunteering with the “God Squad” for two years, a school group which distributes food to the homeless in downtown Toronto. She also represented Canada at the Model United Nations conferences and volunteered as a “best buddy” to a Grade 9 student.

Toronto's top scholars

  • Brianna Smrke, Michael Power/St. Joseph, 100%
  • Gayathiri Balasubramaniam
    and Erin Compeau, Bishop Allen Academy, 99.67%
  • Maria Dubova, Bishop Allen Academy, 99.33%
  • Christopher Dydula, Brebeuf College School, 98.83%
  • Katherine Baird, Senator O’Connor College, 97.50%
  • Rick Rodrigues, Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton, 97.17%
  • Manuel Xuereb, Archbishop Romero, 94%

She said her experience with the “God Squad” opened her eyes to the plight of homeless people. It wasn’t only about preparing sandwiches, but also about talking with them, she said.

“I’d never seen that kind of poverty up close,” she said. “It humanized their dignity.”

This year, Smrke also helped organize fundraisers for the Sleeping Children Around the World, which provides bed kits for children in Africa, India and Bangladesh.

But for Smrke, it’s not always about hitting the books. Her interests range from graphic design to poetry, music and sports. She designed motivational posters and plaques for her school’s Empowered Student Partnership anti-bullying committee. And Smrke created an interactive workshop on optical illusions for elementary school children to share her love of science. Smrke also plays the alto saxophone and captained Michael Power/St. Joseph’s junior basketball team.

Smrke will be attending McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., in the fall and is interested in a career as a neurologist or neuroscientist.

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